The Giro d’Italia is unique this year in that it has only had two sprint finishes so far. It is a drastic change from the years when Alessandro Petacchi won nine stages or Mario Cipollini won six stages.
Cipollini retired with 42 wins in the Giro d’Italia. He continues to stay involved with his home race by writing a daily column in Italy’s leading sports paper, La Gazzetta dello Sport. Yesterday, he used his space to take aim at teams Garmin-Transitions, HTC-Columbia and Sky for their lack of organisation to produce a sprint finish.
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“I keep having the impression that the big [budget] teams are badly organized and assembled,” Cipollini said. “Sky and Garmin race poorly and have not once been able to launch [the sprint] correctly.”
His column appeared before today’s sprint finish in Bitonto, won by Tyler Farrar after a relatively late lead-out from his Garmin team.
Sky fought hard for the win, pulling Greg Henderson back up to the front after he crashed with 14 kilometres to race. Mathew Hayman and then Bradley Wiggins were meant to lead out the final metres, but Henderson explained that Wiggins “got swamped” by rival teams on the narrow roads.
“We are still learning, aren’t we?” Henderson told Cycling Weekly about Cipollini’s column.
“I don’t care what he has to say, we are doing our best and sorry if we aren’t winning every time. We are just racing our bikes and doing the best we can. It is not like we are going out there and not giving 100%.”
Greg Henderson gets a shove from team-mate Chris Froome after a crash on stage 10
Henderson then noted that his team came to the Giro d’Italia with duel objectives: the sprints and, above all, the overall classification with Wiggins. Garmin and HTC have teams better designed for their sprint leaders, Farrar and Greipel.
“We got mountain climbers helping with a lead out,” Henderson continued. “Wiggins was going to try and deliver me [today], but he got lost with 2K or 1K. It was so fast and no one really knew how tight each corner was. We would come through and brake too much.”
Garmin’s Julian Dean led through the final corner at 250 metres and put Farrar in a position to win. Farrar, with two wins, had a rosier view of Cipollini.
“Cipollini is my idol,” said Farrar. “I hope one day to reach the 42 wins that he had.”
Henderson will have to wait until Thursday’s stage to Porto Recanati to have his chance to respond to Cipollini with a win. It is the last of two stages, together with next week’s stage to Brescia, for the sprinters in this year’s Giro d’Italia.
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit